Elmer’s Candid Camera
Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!
Although Egghead and Elmer Fudd have been treated as distinct characters in relatively recent ‘toons and comics, here we have more evidence that Elmer originally evolved out of Egghead. In his first fully-recognizable appearance, complete with the iconic Arthur Q. Bryan voice (previously used for the title character in DANGEROUS DAN MCFOO), Elmer is still wearing Egghead’s signature stiff-collar, green, baggy, outdated suit and hat. That, along with the fact that Egghead was actually identified as “Elmer Fudd” on-screen in one earlier picture, and on lobby posters for another, makes it a lock that Elmer and Egghead were indeed the same character…
Or does it?!
Turns out that a case can be made that the baggy-suit guy used as a running gag in cartoons mostly featuring other characters and elements was never Egghead at all, but ‘Elmer’ from the start. Unlike the wide-eyed, verbose, central-player who looked a bit like him and was also created by Tex Avery, he was never explicitly named as Egghead.
If this is the case, it’s a modern error to depict the derby-hatted, proto-Elmer as Egghead, when that was a different character from cartoons of the same period.
In any event, the Egghead and Elmer characters sort of merged in today’s picture to create the Elmer Fudd we all know. He looks like the running-gag proto-Elmer drawn in greater detail, but he is the central star of the cartoon like Egghead.
With Chuck Jones largely taking-over the character from Avery, the new Elmer gets rather a gentle introduction as a would-be amateur nature photographer. Until he gets unprovoked harassment from a certain rabbit, who is only about midway through his own evolution from the little white bunny that messed-up PORKY’S HARE HUNT a couple years earlier into Elmer’s legendary arch-rival: Bugs Bunny.
From early 1940, here’s ELMER’S CANDID CAMERA. More from the OldHorseman.